Keys to successful executive onboarding

Taking on a new role can be a challenging task for even the most talented senior executives. In fact, Fortune reported that 40 percent of executives who take on new positions or receive promotions fail within the first 18 months. While those figures may paint a bleak picture for senior executives moving into new roles, there are several ways to prepare for a new job before arriving at the office. According to Forbes, both executives and their employers are responsible for ensuring that a new placement is successful, but individuals who follow these onboarding basics will be far more likely to succeed.

Have a hundred-day plan

Fortune reported that one of the best things a business leader can do before moving to a new position is to learn as much as possible about the company and begin developing a hundred-day plan. In many cases, departing executives find that their current employers want them to stay in their present roles for as long as possible, while their new firms hope they’ll start quickly.

This can mean that there isn’t as much downtime in between jobs as executives would like, and it can be tempting for managers to spend any free time they do have at the beach or on the couch. However, executives should put a significant amount of effort into learning as much as possible before they arrive at their new firms, and should be prepared to learn more once they’re there.

Meet and communicate with decision-makers

It’s also important for an arriving executive to identify the most important stakeholders within the organization and rely on them for gathering critical information. Executive coach George Bradt told Fortune that even a quick cup of coffee with key players can make a world of difference in these situations.

“Identify the people in the company who can have the most impact on your success in the new job,” Bradt said. “These include your direct reports, critical support people, peers, potential allies and even the person who wanted your job but didn’t get it.”

According to Bradt, different professionals within the business will have different ideas and suggestions for the same situation, so new leaders shouldn’t look for the “one truth,” but should ask around to get a sense of how to interact with numerous staff members.

Pay attention to your message

Everything you say and do in a new role – as well as the things you fail to say and do – will have an impact on the way your co-workers perceive you. Forbes reported that while some leaders are talented improvisers who can change their message over time, most leaders will need to have a plan in place to clarify what they’re trying to get across.

In addition, the source reported that there are several actions arriving executives should avoid during their early days with a new firm. It’s not a good idea to say anything about your old company, and you certainly shouldn’t mention negative things about the new firm. New executives should stick to mild jokes and avoid sharing too much personal information upfront.

About Caldwell Partners

Caldwell Partners is a leading international provider of executive search and has been for more than 40 years. As one of the world’s most trusted advisors in executive search, the firm has a sterling reputation built on successful searches for boards, chief and senior executives, and selected functional experts. With offices and partners across North America and in London, the firm takes pride in delivering an unmatched level of service and expertise to its clients.

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